Do you need to be good at writing to create good product messaging?
I think you can have two flavors of product marketers. The first are very analytical and business-minded. They identify the key top customer problems and benefits for the product. Then, they might need to collaborate with someone in brand, content, or copywriting to make those messaging points spiffier and more engaging. I am in this camp!
Other PMMs are great wordsmiths who take pride in choosing just the right word to get to the essence of the point they are trying to make. Both can be good product marketers.
I believe product marketers, at minimum, need to be good at writing long-form content. It’s not only fine but common to ask for help tightening up messaging for short-form like headlines, which is an art in itself.
Short answer - yes. It depends on what you mean by “writing”. The skillset of a best-selling novel writer vs. an effective product marketer is different. Written copy is by far the most powerful way to engage our audience and drive results.
In my experience, you can’t get really good at product messaging without being creative with words. And you can’t be really good at that without reading a lot.
So my advice - read a lot and practice writing for the intended medium.
Whether it be products or political campaigns, marketers move people.
Products exist to help people solve their problems or to help them win.
Yes it is important to be good at writing, but its critical to deeply understand your customer.
Don't worry about the words. Bring the empathy, the words will come.
"Writing" in this context is a proxy for communicating; it is merely a vehicle through which to convey the right business case to the right audience. Brilliant thoughts have little value if you are unable to articulate them in a way that will resonate with your intended audience. You don't need to author the great American novel (and hopefully your message isn't fiction!) but you do need to be able to demonstrate a clear understanding of your audience's most important challenges and how whatever your selling relates to them.
Yes and no.
- To create good product messaging, no. It takes many skills to create a good one.
- To create a good representation of that good product messaging, probably yes.
In general, you should be good at writing. But you don't have to be good at copywriting. Especially if you work in orgs where you have access to content writers who are great creative copywriters.
If your role involves writing product messaging then you should be good at writing. Writing is a necessary skill to help users understand your product and to view solving their problem through the same frame as you.
Note that there are different forms of writing competencies. Writing short, succint headlines is different than writing long-form whitepapers. One way to segment this might be copywriting vs content writing.
Typically I would expect to see a UX person with copywriting ability to guide the user's experience within the product. The UX or PM should then be in regular communication with their product marketer, who frequnetly operates as content writer — producing release notes, sales sheets, and other relevant assets to launch.